A fortnight ago Helen and I shot a wedding in and around Manchester for the wonderful Ashley and Yun. With Ashley being a photographer himself it was a little more nerve wracking than normal (!), but we got some fantastic shots, and even though we were rudely interrupted by the riots going on in Manchester (on the street the venue was on!) we still managed to get most of the shots we needed, albeit with the party coming to an abrupt end! I believe the evening party is re-scheduled so all is not lost, and ending your wedding day a few hours early due to riots will certainly be something for Ashley and Yun to tell the Grandchildren!
The day started at Ashley and Yun’s house, where Yun, her bridesmaids and parents were busy getting ready and preparing for the day ahead. Helen and I were kindly offered food and drink, but there was too much prep work to be completed to contemplate accepting such a kind offer – and it’s a good thing we did considering what divine food was to come later!! After some initial prep shots we moved outside to capture ‘the boys’ arriving, where we got some fun shots of the groomsmen looking dapper (and the groom slightly nervous!). It turns out the nerves were well founded – before Ashley could enter the house it is Chinese tradition for the bridesmaids to play tricks on the groom, and he has to pass some tests before he is allowed over the threshold… Thankfully he passed said tests (although some forfeits in the shape of fresh chilli were dished out as punishment for failing to answer some questions correctly, a heavy price to pay I’m sure you’ll agree!), and was allowed to see his beautiful bride.
We then moved to Wythenshaw park to capture some shots of the bride and groom alone together; with such a lovely background and a willing and photogenic couple to work with it was a breeze and we got some fantastic shots as a result. The rain stayed away, and even gave us some lovely moody clouds to work with, so for that I am very grateful! We then went straight to the venue, the welcoming Yang Sing restaurant on the edge of chinatown – who not only put on a great afternoon of food and drink, but we’re extremely helpful with regard to setting up some photographs – thanks guys!
I have to say all of the freinds and family of Ashley and Yun were incredibly friendly and only too happy to be photographed all day – ironically as a photographer I don’t like having my photo taken too often, so I appreciate it when people who may be uncomfortable in front of a lens are willing to let me photograph them!! After initial meeting and greeting (and lots of confetti), the tea ceremony was undertaken, with Ashley and Yun serving ceremonial tea to their guests, a kind and respectful element to a brilliant traditional chinese wedding day.
Normally when we shoot a wedding and food is included, Helen and I nip off to a quiet corner to re-fuel and take a well needed break (as guests normally aren’t too keen on being photographed whilst eating!!), however this time round we had two places laid for us at a table, and Ashley insisted we ate with the wedding party. But this was no ordinary wedding meal – we were treated to 9 courses of the most delicious chinese food i have ever had the good fortune to eat! Having never learned to speak Mandarin or Cantonese, neither Helen or I could read the menu so it was a step into the unknown for a lot of dishes, but my word how delicious it all was – a massive thank-you to the couple for such a kind gesture!
Once the feast was over it was back to work, and before the celebrations were brought to an end we managed to co-ordinate (through the great help of the maître d‘, hats off to you my friend!) the formal shots and some great dancing pics. We finished the day tired but incredibly proud of the job completed, I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as we enjoyed taking them.
I’d like to end with a massive thank-you to the bride and groom for being such willing and photogenic subjects! A few from the day below, click on an image to view it separately:
Justin and Helen